What is Tai Chi?

yin yang with lotus flowers

Tai chi is a martial art that was developed in China thousands of years ago.  It evolved from the system of Qigong which has its roots in Chinese medicine.  Originally Tai Chi was used as a form of self-defense, but over the years the system of Tai Chi is now more commonly practiced as a health-promoting exercise.  The art of Tai Chi is performed using slow, graceful, and continuous movements that flow smoothly from one position to another.  The sequences are calming for the mind and gentle on the joints and muscles. It is ideal for seniors who want to gain strength and mobility in a gradual, low impact way. The slow and steady choreography is very accessible and provides numerous physical and mental health benefits.  Studies have shown that practicing Tai Chi reduces stress, improves posture and balance, and increases muscle strength particularly in the legs.  

The flowing movements of Tai Chi come from a place of inner strength which develops over time.  Think for a moment about water flowing in a river. There is a powerful current that moves the water.  When we practice Tai Chi, the current of energy within you, also known as the life force or Qi, becomes stronger and begins the flow properly.  That is the ultimate purpose of Tai Chi; to cultivate the life energy within to flow smoothly and powerfully throughout the body to relieve sluggishness and blockages in the internal channels. The result is proper energy flow which promotes healing and good health.  

Because of this, Tai Chi is one of the most effective exercises for health of mind and body.  It is complementary to medical treatments such as physical therapy and counseling because the meditative movements are not only strengthening to the physical body but also very calming to the mind and the emotions. That is why Tai Chi is often described as a moving meditation and offers great value in treating or preventing many health problems.

Other benefits you can expect from a Tai Chi practice include improved stamina, coordination, agility, cognitive function, focus and clarity, immunity, pain relief, flexibility, circulation, fall prevention, and healthy psychological changes.  Best of all, no fancy equipment is needed, so it’s easy to get started.  If you desire a stronger and healthier body and a sense of harmony, inner peace, and tranquility, then Tai Chi is for you!